In an article referenced by Scott earlier today, Byron York shows that Mitt Romney did not lose the election because of his failure to win the Hispanic vote. Romnwy would have lost in Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, Iowa, and New Hampshire even if he had gained a large portion of the Hispanic votes in these key battleground states.
York also demonstrates that, as we have argued, Hispanics are not a natural Republican constituency. If anything, they are natural Democrats for reasons unrelated to the immigration issue. Exit poll information suggests that Hispanics based their votes on a number of issues beyond illegal immigration, and those issues favored Democrats. A majority of Hispanics who voted this Election Day favored keeping Obamacare, higher taxes for higher earners, and (by 2 to 1) keeping abortion legal.
This brings me to the question of immigration reform. Such legislation is best evaluated on its merits, rather than on its politics. However, to the extent Republican legislators undertake a political analysis, it should weigh heavily against a vote for any package that provides a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, including the children of those who are here illegally.
The Hispanic vote wasn’t decisive in states like Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, Iowa and New Hampshire because, although it favored Obama big-time, it wasn’t a large portion of the vote. The kind of immigration reform pushed by Democrats would tend to change this.
Moreover, because Hispanics favor Democratic positions on a wide range of big issues having nothing to do with immigration, supporting liberal immigration reform will not win many Hispanic votes. Given these realities, I see no political case, from a Republican point of view, for supporting a path to citizenship for illegal aliens. To contrary, supporting such reform looks something like an act of political suicide.